The ACN Match Review – Cardiff (a)

31/07/22

Having spent a considerable amount of time on a coach, Ffion Thomas took a little break in the middle to witness a football match. Did anything give her reason to think better times are ahead? Let’s see.

The atmosphere

Grey skies and drizzle meant this didn’t really feel like the first game of a new season, or indeed the end of July. A decent turnout given the date, distance and train strikes; after last season’s drawn-out and inevitable outcome it was nice to experience a meaningful game again and the team were backed throughout, though there were some understandable grumbles of discontent at the end.

The lineup

The doesn’t-feel-like-the-first-game-of-the-season feeling continued with an entirely familiar set of players running out. On paper this was probably the strongest team we could have gone with, but it never seemed to click even when we were on top in the first half.

In the last 20 minutes, using all five subs and then losing Hanley on top resulted in a rapid disintegration of whatever it was we were trying to do, though Gibbs looked tidy (as had Sørensen, who he replaced) and Hernandez added some threat.

The hurrah moment

That Todd Cantwell looked up for it. Welcome back Todd.

The booooo moment

That we somehow managed to concede a goal despite Cardiff offering zero threat the entire game. Sorry, 0.08 xG threat.

Hero of the match

​​The National Express coach driver who got us home 40 minutes ahead of schedule. After the last week I’m glad we don’t play in Edinburgh and/or Cardiff every weekend.

The post-match takeaway

A dreadful game with barely any attacking threat from either team, which got worse as it went on and descended into ill-disciplined chaos. One result doesn’t define the course of the whole season – just look at our opening day record over the last 20 years – but we were very poor going forward, with still no sign of the creative spark we’ve been lacking for a year now.

Maybe Gabriel Sara is the man to give us that – after all, his name got sung by the away end more times than those of anyone actually on the pitch. I look forward to seeing him, and hopefully some signs of improvement, against Wigan. Happy new season.

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ACN 22/23 Season Preview: “a Little Thing Called Fun”

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No one can say last season wasn’t emotional. A group of ACN regulars have assembled a circle of old plastic chairs in a quiet church hall, opened with a quiet recitation of OTBC, and are now ready to unburden ourselves. Won’t you join us? Deep breaths.

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